1.1 Background to the Study
Technology can also be defined as a general term for the processes by which human beings fashion tools and machines to increase their control and understanding of the material environment (Merritt, 2008). Technology is the most important factor that can contribute to growth in agricultural productivity. The use of technology in agriculture involves the application of technological innovations into production, storage and processing of agricultural products to improve the efficiency. These improvements include the use of mechanisation in farming, the use of chemicals to control diseases and pests, the use of fertilizers, new tillage practices, introduction of improved plant and animal species and so on. The major contributions of agricultural technology are an increase in farm productivity resulting in increased income and poverty reduction, food security and others (Department for International Development United Kingdom-DFID, 2004). The availability of these innovations or technology for agricultural production is one step in the process of improved agricultural production, the next and most important step is the adoption of these improved production technologies by the farmers.
The adoption of new technology is described as an innovation decision process through which an individual passes through the time of first knowledge of the innovation to a decision stage of either adoption or rejection and confirm the decision (Ekong, 2003). It is the stage in which an individual (in this case the farmer) decides to use a new technology. The adoption of any technology is dependent on the profitability of the technology, the risk and uncertainty associated with it, the initial capital requirement, socio-economic characteristics of the farmers and cultural/traditional belief systems. The increase in productivity associated with improved technologies can only be reaped if the farmers adopt the technology.
Peri-urban areas are those areas around urban areas; they are the fringes of urban cities and are intermediary between urban areas and rural areas bearing some characteristics of both. A Peri-urban area as described by Thünen (1966) is based on the following components when compared with urban areas;
Peri-urban is, in some fashion, connected to being urban
Demographic components; this is based on the population size of the area. The peri-urban area has a population density markedly less than urban areas but not as small as rural areas.
Geographic component; peri-urban areas are in close proximity to urban areas.
Temporal component; this describes peri-urban areas as relatively temporary due mainly to the growth of urban areas and advancements in transportation systems.
Another description of peri-urban is given by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD, 1979): The impacts of economic growth and physical expansion of the urban area are not confined within urban boundaries; they reach into much wider areas surrounding urban centres, creating so-called “rurban areas”, “urban fringe areas”, or “peri-urban areas”. While the peri-urban area retains the characteristics of the rural area, these are subject to major modifications: changes take place with respect to physical configuration, economic activities, social relationships and so forth.
Cassava (Manihot esculenta Crantz) is a perennial woody shrub which grows to a height of about 1-3m and is cultivated mainly for its roots (and to a lesser extent its leaves. Cassava roots are utilized for human consumption, as a constituent of animal feed, in the production of industrial starch and as a source of bio-fuel. Cassava excels under suboptimal conditions such as low soil fertility and drought, offering the possibility of using marginal land to increase total agricultural production (Cock, 1982). Cassava has a high rate of converting available sunlight to carbohydrates and according to Burrell (2003) contributing to the importance of cassava in most tropical countries. It grows and is cultivated in the tropical and subtropical areas of the world as a food and cash crop. Africa produced about 54% of the cassava in the world with Nigerian cassava production being the largest in the world with approximately 34 million tonnes in 2001; a third more than production in Brazil and almost double the production of Indonesia and Thailand (FAO, 2004).
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Nigeria is the largest producer of cassava in the world with 34 million tonnes of cassava produced in 2001 and an average yield of 10.6 tonnes per hectare in 1999 (FAO, 2004). In spite of this, Nigeria’s potential for cassava production has not been reached. Former president Gen Olusegun Obasanjo’s cassava production initiative envisaged that US$5 billion a year would be attained from cassava production in 2007, it was determined that 150 million tonnes of cassava would be needed by the end of 2006 to achieve the Presidential Cassava Initiative (PCI Subcommittee, 2002) and as at 2006 about 45 million tonnes of cassava was produced (United States Agency for International Development-USAID, 2008). This clearly shows that there is a large gap between current production levels and this target.
Cassava production in peri urban areas can contribute to the achievement of this target through an increase in current levels of production in these areas. However for an increase in production to occur there has to be an increase in adoption of improved production technologies (Doss, 2006). Knowledge of the current level of adoption of improved cassava production technologies in peri urban areas will aid in the formulation of appropriate policies to increase productivity and aid in achieving the cassava production potentials of Nigeria.
This is where this study comes in; it is aimed at discovering farmer’s adoption of improved cassava production technology and the constraints to technology adoption peri-urban areas. It also would answer the following questions:
what are the socio-economic characteristics of cassava farmers in peri-urban areas?
are the cassava farmers in peri-urban areas aware of improved technologies?
what are the sources of information about new technologies available to cassava farmers in peri-urban areas?
what is the level of adoption of improved technologies by cassava farmers in peri-urban areas?
what are the factors affecting the adoption of new technologies by cassava farmers in peri-urban areas?
what are the problems encountered by cassava farmers in adopting new technologies in peri urban areas?
1.3 Objectives of the Study
The general objective is to determine farmer’s adoption of improved cassava production technologies in peri-urban areas of Ikpoba Okha and Ovia North East local government areas of Edo state.
The specific objectives of the study were to;
Determine the socio-economic characteristics of peri-urban cassava farmers in the study area
Assess cassava farmer’s awareness of improved production technologies in the study area
Ascertain the level of adoption of improved production technologies by cassava farmers in the study area
Identify the factors affecting technology adoption in of improved production technologies in the study area.
Identify the sources of information on new technologies in the study area
Determine the problems encountered by farmers in adopting new technologies in the study area
1.4 Research Hypotheses
There is no significant relationship between the socio-economic characteristics of cassava farmers in peri-urban areas and their adoption level of improved production technology.
There is no significant relationship between cassava farmers’ sources of information on improved production technology and their adoption of these technologies.
Increasing cassava production through the adoption of improved production technologies in p eri urban areas will not just help to attain a potential or reach a target, it will improve the lives of people who live in the peri urban areas through increased food production, higher incomes as well as those in the surrounding urban areas by increasing the availability of cassava products for consumption and as an industrial raw material, reduction in the price of cassava products; this will be due to reduced transport costs due to proximity as compared with those cassava products that are transported from the rural areas. All these sum up to a reduction in poverty and increasing levels of food security.
This study will provide insight into the production processes of cassava farmers in peri-urban areas, showing their level of adoption of improved technologies from land clearing and tillage to harvesting, storage and processing of cassava with the aim of determining their level of adoption, factors and problems affecting their adoption of improved cassava production technologies.
Knowledge of this would help Local, State and Federal extension authorities, Agricultural development projects (ADPs), Federal and State ministry’s of Agriculture, communities and cooperatives develop policies that would aid in resolving identified problems affecting cassava farmer’s adoption, provide conducive conditions that encourage increased adoption levels of improved cassava technologies in peri-urban areas and in the long run increase cassava production in Nigeria.